The country that introduced the world to “hygge” now has another term for us: “samfundssind.”
Last year Americans went wild for hygge, which encompasses all things cozy and comforting — but the likely 2020 “word of the year” in Denmark is “samfundssind" — which the Danish Language Council defines as “putting the concern of society higher than one’s own interests.” More loosely translated as “community spirit” or “social mindedness” according to the BBC.
The term was used in March by Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, who noted at a press conference: “We have to stand together by keeping our distance… We need community spirit. We need help. I would like to thank … all who have so far shown that this is exactly what we have in Denmark — samfundssind.”
And the Danish people and companies responded immediately, with private companies getting medical equipment to help alleviate some of the pressure on healthcare services, part of the Denmark Helping Denmark campaign, prompting the Danish Medicines Agency’s Director General Thomas Senderovitz to commend them, saying the response showed “incredible goodwill and community spirit,” according to the BBC.
Meanwhile, the Lego factory manufactured visors for healthcare workers; the amusement park Tivoli Gardens turned into a temporary kindergarten; and double Michelin-starred restaurant, Alchemist, began cooking pasta for 12 homeless shelters in Copenhagen. As the BBC notes that while the word is now used on social media as a hashtag to highlight kind acts, “perhaps most importantly, everyday people showed community spirit by following the rules.”